When it comes to electric vehicles (EVs), one of the most cited concerns is range anxiety: the fear that your car will run out of juice before reaching your destination. However, a recent world record set by a team from Technical University of Munich (TUM) might put some of those fears to rest, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of what is technically feasible.
Dubbed TUfast Eco, the student team managed to obliterate the existing world record for the longest-range electric vehicle (non-solar) by covering an astonishing 2,573.79 kilometers (1,599.28 miles) on a single charge. The achievement is even more impressive considering the vehicle, named Muc022, accomplished this feat using a 15.5-kWh battery, which is significantly smaller than the batteries found in market-leading EVs.
For context, the previous record was set at 1,608.54 kilometers (999.5 miles) by American company IT Asset Partners in California back in 2017. By surpassing this milestone, the TUfast Eco team didn’t just break the 1,000-mile barrier; they also increased the record by a whopping 60%. They accomplished this feat during last week’s IAA Munich Mobility show, taking six days to complete the journey inside an airplane hangar provided by Munich Airport to eliminate weather variables.
Although the Muc022 was developed specifically for competition and not for consumer use, it provides significant insights into the future of electric mobility. The car uses just 0.6 kWh per 100 km, in stark contrast to an efficient production EV, which typically consumes around 13 kWh per 100 km. The vehicle is powered by a 400-W permanent magnet synchronous motor and weighs only 375 lb (170 kg) without the driver. Furthermore, its aerodynamically efficient, teardrop-shaped body boasts a drag coefficient of just 0.159, lower than any other vehicle currently available on the market, including the 0.175-Cd Lightyear 0 solar-electric car.
The Muc022’s single-seat configuration and competition-specific design make it impractical for daily activities like grocery shopping or school runs. However, the car was replaced by its successor, the Muc023, in March ahead of the 2023 Shell Eco Marathon, allowing the team to retrofit the Muc022 with a larger 15.5-kWh battery specifically for the record attempt.
While it’s unlikely you’ll see a Muc022 on the road beside you anytime soon, the technological advancements demonstrated by this achievement have broad implications for the automotive industry. If similar efficiency gains can be applied to consumer-focused vehicles, we may see a dramatic shift in public perception about the practicality of electric vehicles.
Pricing information is not applicable in this case, as the Muc022 was developed solely for competition and research purposes. However, the advancements it showcases could potentially reduce production and battery costs for future commercial EVs, making them more accessible to the average consumer.